Saturday, September 13, 2008

Voice over Internet Protocol

Voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP, IPA: /vɔɪp/) is a protocol optimized for the transmission of voice through the Internet or other packet-switched networks. VoIP is often used abstractly to refer to the actual transmission of voice (rather than the protocol implementing it). This latter concept is also referred to as IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband, broadband telephony, and broadband phone.

VoIP providers may be viewed as commercial realizations of the experimental Network Voice Protocol (1973) invented for the ARPANET providers. Some cost savings are due to using a single network to carry voice and data, especially where users have underused network capacity that can carry VoIP at no additional cost. VoIP-to-VoIP phone calls are sometimes free, while VoIP calls connecting to public switched telephone networks (VoIP-to-PSTN) may have a cost that is borne by the VoIP user.

Voice-over-IP systems carry telephony signals as digital audio, typically reduced in data rate using speech data compression techniques, encapsulated in a data-packet stream over IP.

There are two types of PSTN-to-VoIP services: Direct inward dialing (DID) and access numbers. DID will connect a caller directly to the VoIP user, while access numbers require the caller to provide an extension number for the called VoIP user.

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